THE MDC-T elections directorate has sent out a document to all its structures countrywide with guidelines of selecting candidates from local government to legislators and a raft of proposals to amend the constitution during its elective congress in May.
According to the document obtained from MDC-T members, a prospective candidate for any post would have to be a member of the party for at least five years instead of the current two.
“The prospective candidate should meet the following, 1.2 (f) in the case of contestation consideration will be given to seniority and service to the party within the party structures, 1.2 (g) have been in the structures of the party for at least five years at any level and being a card holder and fully paid up member and 1.2 (h) be able to read and write so that they understand relevant legislative laws and have been democratically elected and nominated through party processes”, reads the document.
MDC-T sources say the seniority proposal has vast potential of dividing the party claiming that “junior but popular candidates would be sidelined and further escalate tension within structures”.
Another proposal says in the event of unseen circumstances, the directorate of elections can delegate some of its duties and functions to the provincial leadership of the party.
Under the current arrangement the elections directorate presides over the selection of all candidates.
MDC-T sources say if the proposal sails through it would further intensify squabbles and factionalism at provincial level.
“For instance, Bulawayo province is divided into two camps now and if the proposal is adopted it would be worse,” said the source. “The proposal would give way for a faction led by incumbent chairpersons to fill post from his or her faction.”
Party national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Thabitha Khumalo were not reachable for comments.
The former opposition party also seeks to push up the bar for prospective mayors and councilors. Prospective candidates must own a property in the municipality or be paying rates to the municipality.
“Mayors and chairpersons must be having at least five years of MDC membership, fully paid up card carrying members and be of good political standing in the party,” the document reads.
Mayoral candidates should have management skills and experience at senior management level and “must accept to be bound by the caucus and most importantly must recognise the right and supremacy of the party in offering policy direction”.
Councillors should be able to “read and write”.
MDC-T structures have been gripped by intense jockeying for positions ahead of the party’s congress with ministers and senior politicians setting base and holding several meetings ahead of congress.